Canadian festival Hot Docs has set a relaunch date and unveiled an opening slate for the Bloor Cinema (pictured), the Toronto theater it acquired last July and has since been refurbishing.
Now called the Hot Docs Bloor Cinema, the venue will re-open on March 14 with a week of special screenings and events for the general public and invited guests. As previously reported, the taking over of the venue was a joint venture between Hot Docs and investment firm Blue Ice Group.
“This partnership is a game-changer for Hot Docs and great news for Toronto’s film lovers,” said Hot Docs executive director Chris McDonald. “Investors were anxious to purchase and develop the property but [most recent owners] the Bordonaro family was determined to leave the Bloor in cinema-loving hands.
“Hot Docs and Blue Ice are anxious to meet this challenge. In an era where arts and culture are at risk of funding cuts and indifference from some quarters, this is one of Toronto’s good news stories of the year.”
After an opening week that will include free public open-house screenings of Lucy Walker’s Waste Land (March 12 and 13) and grand-opening screenings for invited audiences, the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema’s scheduled public programming will kick off on March 16.
Films with featured theatrical runs in March and April include Alex Stapleton’s Corman’s World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel; Constance Marks and Philip Shane’s Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey; Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey’s Eames: The Architect and the Painter; Errol Morris’ Tabloid; Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker’s Fightville; David Redmon and Ashley Sabin’s Girl Model; and Jeanie Finlay’s Sound It Out.
Meanwhile, the Saturday afternoon ‘Essential Docs’ strand will showcase classic documentaries, with March and April playing host to Ross McElwee’s Sherman’s March; Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man; Errol Morris’ The Thin Blue Line; Leon Gast’s When We Were Kings; and Allan King’s A Married Couple.
On select Sunday afternoons starting in April, ‘Back to the Bloor’ will showcase some classic fiction films that helped define the Bloor Cinema in its popular rep years, including Joel and Ethan Coen’s The Big Lebowski and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.
In its first months of operation, the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema will also host the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour (March 23-25).
“For our first months’ programming we thought it was essential to highlight the incredible range of documentary genres and subjects that filmmakers are exploring,” said Bloor Hot Docs Cinema programmer Robin Smith, who also serves as the president of KinoSmith.
“There really is something for everyone, and we’re looking forward to opening the doors and welcoming audiences back, especially our neighbors in the [Toronto] Annex who have been such loyal supporters of the cinema.”